This curriculum was developed to help students develop and strengthen their argumentative writing skills as well as their identity as writers. By utilizing Mikva's high engagement instructional strategies, students will bring their own lived experiences to the practice of writing persuasively. Throughout these four sections, students will explore their own interests and passions, connect their identity to causes they care about and learn how to effectively communicate an argument in writing. As students develop their power to persuade, we hope they will bring these new academic and life skills into other academic work and into their civic lives. This curriculum is designed for use in an ELA classroom, but contains a heavy influence of social studies and action civics. We hope that this curriculum also provides a jumping off point for students and classes to take on and follow through on their own advocacy for better schools and communities.
Goals of this curriculum:
- Develop argumentative writing skills-- A primary goal of this curriculum is to help students build the knowledge and practice of being effective argumentative writers.
- Develop a writer's identity-- One goal of this curriculum is for students to see themselves as writers. We do this by tying writing to things young people are passionate about, by showing them diverse examples of writers and by giving them lots of opportunity to practice and improve in low stakes ways.
- Connect to their own power and agency -- We know that there are very few spaces where young people feel seen and heard. This shows up in school in a variety of ways. We want this class to feel different. We center their voices and their experiences so they can connect to how powerful they can be when advocating on an issue using persuasive writing.
The Power of Persuasion curriculum is by no means a one-size-fits-all manual, since we know no one approach can meet the needs of every classroom. In fact, this curriculum was expressly designed by and for educators so you can pick and choose lessons that best suit your needs and the needs of your students.
We have designed the lessons to allow for maximum flexibility, choice, and adaptability. You may find the need to modify some lessons in order to differentiate for the needs of your students -- by providing more challenge or more scaffolding, for example, and we offer suggestions and adaptations. Pick and choose according to your class's needs!
Each lesson has been mapped to the Common Core State Standards Standards for 6-8th grade.
Instructions for teachers: Lessons use our Bell-Ringer, Before, During, After method and are written for a 50-minute period, with the understanding that pacing is flexible.
We offer additional resources and activities to provide opportunities for you to adapt and modify these lessons in a way that works for you and your students. The lessons are intended for in-person learning but are accompanied by digital components and can be adapted for virtual learning.
Slides: We have included instructional slides with each lesson for you to use if using slides is a part of your practice. The lessons do not require the use of them at all, you could go old school and use a blackboard and chalk if you want! When you click on the slides link in the Materials section of each lesson, you will have the option of downloading a PowerPoint version, or creating your own editable copy of a Google Slides version.
Writer's Notebook: Throughout this curriculum, each student will maintain a Writer's Notebook. You can choose whether to make this a physical notebook or a virtual one. You will see instructions throughout to have students write in this Writer's Notebook so it should be readily accessible each class period. We want to encourage students to do as much writing and reflecting as possible during this unit to build their comfort level with writing. To assist you in that, we have developed an inspiration document with prompts, questions and images that can help students get started if they need some guidance to help them start writing. You may want to set intervals for the students to turn in their Writer's Notebook for your review.
Accessing Materials: Please note that along the way many of the links posted in materials will link to PDFs stored on the Mikva Challenge online curriculum platform. These links will appear as 403 errors unless you are logged in to the platform and have an account with access. If you have not yet created an account, you should do so at teach.mikva challenge.org. Click “Register” on the top right and then create your account using the access code provided to you by your district or by Mikva Challenge directly to ensure you have full permissions.
The mission of Mikva Challenge is to develop youth to be empowered, informed and active citizens who will promote a just and equitable society. This curriculum embraces student exploration of topics of social identity so that students can form their own opinions and work to effectively solve root causes of societal problems. This curriculum includes attention to developing empathy and engaging in civic discourse to encourage a diversity of opinions with the understanding that sustainable change requires engaging people of all viewpoints and experiences.
This curriculum utilizes the non-gender pronoun of “they” throughout. Learn more about gender neutral pronouns.
Third-Party Website Disclaimer
This curriculum includes third-party links or materials that are provided solely as a convenience to you as educational resources and you access and use them entirely at your own risk and are subject to such third parties’ terms and conditions. As a nonprofit corporation and 501(c)(3) public charity, Mikva Challenge devotes its efforts toward its charitable mission and does not promote or endorse third-party sites.